When one is thinking about trees with autumn color, Japanese maples, Sugar maples and Red maples come first to mind. These maples are dazzling and deservedly popular. But there are many other maples just as impressive but hardly ever seen, mostly because they're never in the big nurseries. A good example of this is the Three-flowered maple, or Acer triflorum. This is a small maple with spectacular, traffic-stopping autumn color. It can reach 25 feet in height but is usually found at 15 to 20 feet. This size makes it suitable for planting beneath power lines as well as a center-piece for courtyards. Its unrivaled color will brighten your property year after year, and decade after decade. And, when the fireworks are over, you have a handsome peeling, tan bark to bring winter interest to the tree. This round headed maple with its fiery yellow and orange foliage starts out demurely in spring with grass-green leaves that darken as weeks pass. The leaves are attractive with their characteristic three lobes and lend poise to the garden for the summer season before they throw off their sheep’s clothing to begin yelling "Autumn is here!"

This fine textured, slow growing maple is true to its name and produces three, greenish-yellow flowers clustered together in spring to be followed by one inch winged seeds, called samaras, which like the flowers, are not showy but cause no litter problem. There are no pests or disease problems and Three-flowered maple is quite tolerant of soil type. It tolerates both sun and part shade making excellent autumn color in either exposure. It has a vast range of adaptability growing well all across the UK. In North America, it thrives from southern Canada down to the Upper South of the United States and it does well in New Zealand and temperate Australia. Of course, like many unique trees, it won't be easy to find, but specialty mail-order nurseries are likely to carry it.


Three-flowered maple

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